Brighton and Hove Virtual Meetings Nearing End
As emergency rules aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 expire, councillors prepare to return to town halls for meetings.
07:48 20 April 2021
Councillors all over the United Kingdom are preparing to return to town halls for meetings as life slowly returns to normal post-Covid 19 pandemic.
Local councils have been holding key meetings online since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the arrangement helped them saved travel time, many councillors say that they miss the lack of spontaneous debate and face-to-face contact and the inability to see the nuances of body language and sense the mood in a room.
Councillor Mac Cafferty, a member of Brighton and Hove Council, said: “When they are safe to do so, I want meetings in person once again, mainly because it will represent some welcome return to normality.
“For me, the atmosphere is flat through screens – and atmosphere is key to democracy and good decision-making.
“Being called into back-to-back online meetings from 8am to 7pm day after day is probably the fantasy of a programmer but it won’t make for good decision-making.”
The former Labour leader of the council Daniel Yates agrees. He said: “It can seem that less important things get missed as people are generally struggling to pay as much attention.
“Overall, I think virtual or part-virtual meetings should become part of normal council life as they have elsewhere.
“Sitting on leather benches in an oak-panelled room doesn’t guarantee good decisions.”